Spendthrift

Just got an email from my credit card company asking me to pledge to “shop small” this holiday season. My first thought was that this is a clever way to endear people like me: you won’t catch me lining up outside WalMart at 5 a.m. to fill my cart.

On closer reading, however, the company wants to reward you for…spending money. That’s right: show your support of the anti-Black Friday crowd by buying something.

On the face of it, you support the community by “spending small.” Just plunk down $25 on your credit card to be part of the cool crowd.

But here’s the thing: in order to participate you have to spend $25 on your credit card. Friday.

Sheesh.

Don’t you think a more genuine approach would be to spend nothing on Black Friday?

My favorite holidays are the ones when we limit our spending and make gifts. I prefer to haunt the arts-and-crafts markets for local goods and find rarities at the antique and junk stores.

Better yet, pledge to do something rather than buy something.

I made an appointment to give blood.

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About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. She is enrolled with the Osage tribe.
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